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Re: Teaching bottomline, part 3: what should improve.
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Date: 2007-05-24 (13:25)
From: David Teller <David.Teller@e...>
Subject: Re: [Caml-list] Re: Teaching bottomline, part 3: what should improve.
On Wed, 2007-05-23 at 10:03 +0200, Loup Vaillant wrote:
> On Tue, 22 May 2007, David Teller wrote:
> > * That's not OCaml-specific but there must be some construction better
> > suited than "for" or "while" to write loops without having to handcode a
> > recursive loops. Right now, I can't think of anything better than a
> > "hidden" Y combinator, but there must be something.
> What about map fold, filter, and the like? Sure, they are somewhat
> specialized, but most can be rewritten for many data structures.
> If you are really desperate, You can write The Recursive Loops
> (terminal and not terminal, 3 lines each). But I guess you tried.

I was thinking about a fold specialised in integers. But with a "better"
syntax and semantics than either fold (i.e. no anonymous functions) or
for (i.e. no reliance on references). Of course, I don't have such a
construction at hand.

> > * Some students rely too much on references.
> If they are used to for and while loops, they will think more often in
> terms of references (as I did). Then, we have the array, a collection
> of references. Do you think your students could learn some purely
> functional data structures instead? Should they?

There is such a thing as relying *too much* on references.

> > * Anonymous functions are still beyond most of them.
> Did your students used map and fold-like functions much? These almost
> require anonymous functions.

That's the thing: anonymous functions are not natural for them, hence
map, fold et al. are not natural.